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Outdoor Activities & Sports

One of the prettiest places nearby is the 8,622-acre Government Canyon State Natural Area, where 40 miles of hiking and biking trails lead to rugged canyons, scenic overlooks, spring-fed creeks and rolling prairies. Guided hikes focusing on birdwatching, wildflowers, cultural history, family fun and other themes are available by reservation on weekends.

HCtubing_1C.jpgOther Hill Country favorites for hiking include Lost Maples State Natural Area (especially in autumn), Pedernales Falls State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. North of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock—a massive pink granite dome—is also popular with rock climbers. The easy hike to the dome’s top provides a panoramic view of the surrounding Hill Country.

Tubing may be Texans’ favorite summer sport on this region’s clear rivers. It’s easy to rent inner tubes, as well as canoes and river rafts, for floating down the Guadalupe, San Marcos, Comal and Frio rivers, and most vendors have shuttles to pick you up at the end of your float. It’s not unusual to see a whole flotilla of friends drifting along, complete with a round ice chest in the middle of a special tube. You’ll also find picture-perfect places for swimming, such as Blanco State Park, Guadalupe River State Park and Blue Hole Regional Park. For dedicated anglers, the Guadalupe River is the place for fly-fishing.

Just a little north of San Antonio, Canyon Lake offers a recreational playground. Nestled among steep and wooded hills, this 8,230-acre lake is one of the deepest and most scenic lakes in Texas and features eight public parks with camping, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, wildlife viewing, boating and other water sports.

Combine the Hill Country’s limestone foundation with rainwater percolating down through it over eons, and the result is breathtaking underground wonders. Caves abound here, and among the most beautiful are Natural Bridge Caverns near New Braunfels and Cave Without a Name outside of Boerne.